COVID-19 restrictions help reduce tuberculosis incidence in Tatarstan

The Tatarstan office of Russia’s consumer rights protection watchdog talked about tuberculosis in the republic

COVID-19 restrictions help reduce tuberculosis incidence in Tatarstan
Photo: osinovo.ru

“Workers, employees and pensioners got infected with tuberculosis most often in Tatarstan,” said head of Sanitary Protection Department of the watchdog’s local office Luiza Borisova. During the meeting dedicated to World Tuberculosis Day, prevention of the dangerous disease and its impact on a child’s organism were discussed. Read more in Realnoe Vremya’s report.

Statistics in Tatarstan

Head of Sanitary Protection Department of Tatarstan office of Russia’s consumer rights protection watchdog Luiza Borisova said that 913 cases of tuberculosis were detected for the first time, including 33 in children under 17, in the republic in 2020. It is nearly 19% below the numbers in 2019. The number of people infected for the first time is 360 people.

Most people who caught tuberculosis in Tatarstan are urban citizens from 18 to 49 years: 64% of the total number of patients. Workers and employees (23% of infected people) as well as pensioners suffer from it the most.

The tuberculosis incidence in Tatarstan is 1,3 times lower than in Russia and the Volga Federal District in general. The republic ranks only 10th among Volga regions. The tuberculosis incidence in 12 Tatarstan districts is above average republican numbers. The list of unfavourable districts includes Vysokaya Gora, Agryz, Apastovo, Bugulma, Buyinsk, Bavly, Tyulyachi, Drozhzhany, Zelenodolsk, Cheremshan, Almetyevsk and Verkhny Uslon Districts.

According to Borisova, especially those who didn’t do a check-up on time, escaped screening and didn’t take preventive medicines risk of catching the disease that spreads via droplets and direct contact. Photo: tatar-inform.ru

61% of tuberculosis cases in Tatarstan are mostly detected during an X-ray. In some cases, the disease is found when patients seek medical advice.

“Extensive restrictions imposed because of coronavirus, separation of staffs, public and personal prevention influenced a fall in the incidence,” Borisova is sure. “The restrictions on visits to health establishments, occupational check-ups, screening during the quarantine also help doctors to detect the dangerous disease.”

1,680 patients who have tuberculosis are registered in Tatarstan. Over 9,000 people are in contact with those who have the infection. Only 10 of them have contracted the disease for now. According to Borisova, especially those who didn’t do a check-up on time, dodged screening and didn’t take preventive medicines risk of catching the disease that spreads via droplets and direct contact.

“One in four children who haven’t been diagnosed goes to the kindergarten and school”

Last year, parents and legal representatives of over 10,000 children refused to diagnose their immunity to tuberculosis in Tatarstan.

“64% of these children have already been diagnosed with alternative methods, while around 3,000 people weren’t diagnosed at all,” Borisova said. “One in four children who haven’t been diagnosed goes to kindergarten and school.”

A positive reaction to the Mantoux test shocks parents because such a result is considered as a sentence. Photo: amae74.ru

QuantiFERON-TB Gold and T-SPOT are alternatives tests to the Mantoux test. It is new blood tests to diagnose tuberculosis. A vein blood test is necessary. Children who have contraindications to do tuberculin sensitivity tests are recommended to choose this method.

Borisova reminded the audience that tuberculin and the Diaskin test aren’t vaccines. It is diagnostic medicines that were permitted to be used after doing a series of research on efficacy and safety. The medicines don’t cause complications and long-term consequences.

“Tuberculosis in children is dangerous because symptoms of the disease are unnoticeable or absent at all,” the expert explained. “The disease makes itself known only in teenagers. There is weakness, fatigue, dizziness, a high body temperature. Advanced cases of tuberculosis are very hard to treat. In such cases, medicines that can have a toxic impact on the young organism of a child are used.”

Events devoted to tuberculosis prevention are taking place from 22 March to 16 April in Tatarstan. Photo: rkpd.tatarstan.ru

A positive reaction to the Mantoux test shocks parents because such a result is considered as a sentence. In fact, this reaction may be caused by other reasons. For instance, due to an allergy to tuberculin or phenol.

“A positive test is a reason to be alarmed and think about the child’s health,” Borisov claimed. “If needed, a paediatrician will certainly refer you to consult a phthisiologist. Only a doctor can determine the degree of the infection and evaluate possible risks.”

By the way, events devoted to tuberculosis prevention are taking place from 22 March to 16 April in Tatarstan. So there will be organised mobile X-ray machines. A mobile tomography was to be installed in Tandem shopping mall on 25 March, while an analogous room will appear in Mega on 26 March. The Republican Clinical Tuberculosis Hospital and central regional hospitals of Tatarstan will host Doors Open Day with X-ray tests offered to the population and consultations with a phthisiologist.

By Yelena Simakova
Tatarstan